Home Health 457: Rachel Harrington on Understanding and Navigating Sensory Processing Challenges in Our...

457: Rachel Harrington on Understanding and Navigating Sensory Processing Challenges in Our Youngsters

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Hi there, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. It’s my new private care line, Wellnesse with an E on the top. This episode is all about sensory processing. I hear lots about this from you guys. It’s clearly one thing being talked about rather more throughout a variety of areas of experience proper now. And I wished to have somebody on who was actually efficient in truly serving to households discover options. And as we speak, that’s what we go deep on. I’m right here with Rachel Harrington, who’s a pediatric licensed occupational remedy assistant who works with youngsters with totally different talents to study to really feel assured in their very own pores and skin. And he or she started her personal sensory journey by designing these little weighted vests that allowed youngsters to manage their sensory wants whereas nonetheless becoming in with their buddies.

And he or she’s the co-host of the “All Issues Sensory” podcast with Harkla, which goals to teach and equip dad and mom, therapists, and educators with the instruments and knowledge to know sensory integration. This can be a matter that’s undoubtedly on the rise. And the excellent news that we discover out and delve into as we speak is that there are some easy methods which can be additionally nice for our children and different ways in which we are able to incorporate as dad and mom and as educators that may assist our children have a extremely strong begin on this space and in addition assist them to combine and work by means of if a few of these challenges exist already. Tons and many sensible info on this episode. So let’s bounce in. Rachel, welcome to the podcast.

Rachel: Hello, Katie. Thanks for having me.

Katie: I’m excited to speak with you as we speak as a result of I get a variety of questions on this matter. And I don’t have a variety of direct expertise. And it looks as if that is one thing that’s probably impacting lots of people listening and their households. So, we all know we’re gonna go in a variety of totally different, actually particular instructions, however to start out broad, stroll us by means of what’s sensory processing and why that is so necessary.

Rachel: Oh, my goodness. Okay, sensory processing, in a nutshell, is mainly when a toddler is engaged on determining how one can course of the world. And you’ve got your sensory system, everybody has a sensory system. And all of us must course of and modulate the enter coming in from the world in addition to internally.

Now, if we are able to’t course of these messages, if they’re getting a visitors jam or if they’re getting misplaced, then it’s going to make every day functioning very difficult. And even when it doesn’t make it very difficult, sensory processing challenges could make it troublesome to get by means of your every day actions, simply with ease. And our purpose is to have only a well-modulated youngster or ourselves being well-modulated. And if we’ve some sensory processing challenges, if these messages aren’t getting the place they must be as effectively as attainable, that’s going to make your life a little bit bit tougher.

Katie: So it looks as if these are undoubtedly issues which can be on the rise. Any concept why we’re seeing an increase? Is it extra that we’re having extra consciousness of it now or are there components which can be contributing to a rise in these?

Rachel: Yeah, so I believe it’s type of a mix of a variety of issues occurring. You recognize, it’s very genetic. And so, as I’m working with kiddos, and I’m speaking with a household about these particular sensory challenges, the relations are normally like, “Oh, nicely, I wrestle with this too.” And we normally have that aha second the place, as an grownup, you understand, as a functioning grownup, we don’t essentially notice that we’ve these challenges till they’re introduced up, as a result of we are able to sometimes push them beneath the door and we are able to sometimes get by means of our day advantageous. However as we’ve a kiddo who may wrestle extra, you understand, not solely genetics, however I’m pondering toxins within the surroundings, and genetics, and epigenetics, and trauma is a giant one as nicely, particularly with delivery trauma, I believe it’s type of an ideal storm with these kiddos.

And we get a kiddo that has all of those totally different, you understand… I like to speak about as their cup, their cup will get full, and all these totally different traumas and toxins, and you’ve got genetics in there. After which it’s the entire explosion after which you’ve this youngster with extreme challenges. So, it’s a little bit little bit of every little thing. And I do suppose that we’re recognizing it a little bit bit extra. And we are able to discuss this a little bit bit later too, but it surely undoubtedly goes hand in hand with different diagnoses as nicely. It’s undoubtedly a comorbidity with different greater diagnoses. And I do suppose that typically it’s misdiagnosed as probably anxiousness typically or it may associate with anxiousness, and it undoubtedly goes hand in hand with autism. Positively misdiagnosed typically as ADHD for a few of our sensory seekers. So, I believe we’ve to take the entire youngster into play and take a look at the entire state of affairs for positive.

Katie: And once we’re speaking about sensory challenges, what particularly does this appear like? I’m positive there’s a customized side, and it’s gonna fluctuate from individual to individual, however what may be a number of the issues we’d see?

Rachel: Sure. So off the highest of my head, the most typical issues we see are kiddos who search enter. So perhaps they’re looking for motion, they’re transferring consistently. They search smells and touches. They wanna contact every little thing. They’re nearly just like the bull within the china store. They may search motion and hugs extra they usually wanna crash and bounce on every little thing. They’re going to be spinning consistently. They’re going to crave totally different flavors like bitter flavors, and salty, and candy, and spicy.

After which on the other facet, we’ve kiddos who wrestle with… Like, they’ve too massive of a response to sure sensory mediums. In order that they’re going to keep away from motion, any time their head, you understand, is in a unique place, they’re gonna get uncomfortable. As infants perhaps they didn’t like being thrown within the air or perhaps they have been colicky. I believe that’s a giant one which we see. And perhaps these kiddos are actually choosy eaters. They wrestle with tolerating new, like, flavors and new textures. Oftentimes, they’re avoidant of clothes textures. They actually dislike getting their arms messy, their face messy. They’re gonna wrestle with physique consciousness.

So it’s a complete spectrum of various issues that we are able to see. Kiddos will be over-responsive or, you understand, they’re simply over-reactive to sure enter, however then under-responsive or looking for different enter as nicely. So it may be a complete combination of issues as nicely. It’s not simply you’re over-responsive otherwise you’re under-responsive. And I believe that’s what will get individuals confused a variety of the time.

Katie: And it seems like this exists very a lot on a spectrum with out, like, very clear black and white, like, “Oh, you understand, we are able to’t run a blood take a look at for this to determine that is precisely what you’ve.” So I’d guess there’s very a lot a component of dad or mum reporting, and the dad and mom and caregivers being those to type of determine this out. Is that normally what occurs because the dad and mom are those coming in realizing there’s an issue versus it coming from a medical prognosis?

Rachel: Sure. So, sadly, it’s not acknowledged as an precise prognosis, a standalone prognosis by itself. However we see dad and mom, we see colleges, academics as nicely, these are oftentimes the place we’ll first get like on the radar. Pediatricians typically will catch it as nicely. It’s not as widespread for pediatricians. So far as I’ve seen, there are undoubtedly exceptions for positive. Nevertheless it at all times appears to be the dad or mum bringing it as much as the pediatrician, like, hey, let’s get this checked out. Let’s perhaps get them into early intervention as a result of that early intervention is vital. However undoubtedly, colleges and academics will have the ability to say, “Hey, let’s discover these items.” You recognize, “Your kiddo is struggling to take a seat and focus greater than the opposite kiddos” and issues like that.

Katie: What are a few of these early interventions when it’s observed {that a} youngster has a few of these indicators?

Rachel: Yeah, so the most important factor is getting them into occupational remedy and recognizing, what’s the youngster fighting most? How can we modify what’s occurring? How can we adapt to get an acceptable adaptive response? After which engaged on simply desensitizing if they’re over-responsive to sure issues, desensitizing…simply getting them extra enter, getting them on a sensory weight loss plan. You recognize, infants can truly profit from sensory diets as nicely. And I believe that’s so necessary to acknowledge that all of us have that sensory system and all of us must be offering our our bodies with a sensory-rich surroundings.

And so, it sometimes will begin with occupational remedy. And the extra intensive remedy we are able to get for these little kiddos, the higher. However even for an older kiddo who will get identified perhaps at six or seven, they usually’re at school, they usually’re actually struggling, OT is gonna be large, but in addition a lot of it consists of fogeys carrying over these methods into the house college neighborhood surroundings. One or two days of remedy per week isn’t gonna make an enormous distinction. You’re undoubtedly gonna study a variety of abilities to hold over however implementing these methods all over the place is gonna make the most important distinction for these kiddos.

Katie: That is sensible. And also you talked about weight loss plan being an element. And with my background in vitamin, I undoubtedly at all times, type of, default to, like, let’s deal with weight loss plan and life-style components too. What are a number of the issues which can be acknowledged, which can be useful in a sensory capability with regards to weight loss plan?

Rachel: Okay. So that is gonna sound a little bit bit bizarre, however so far as a weight loss plan, I wouldn’t essentially go so far as altering the whole weight loss plan. I at all times suggest gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, diet-free, fun-free. That’s what I at all times say for these kiddos. However so far as like a sensory weight loss plan for consuming, the most important factor is the totally different textures of meals. So, a kiddo who may search extra enter, we’re going to provide them chewy meals, we’re gonna give them crunchy meals, one thing that has extra resistance to allow them to get extra enter, particularly for our kiddos who’re perhaps oral seekers.

For our kiddos who’re struggling to course of meals of their mouth, we’re gonna do extra vibration of their mouth and extra consciousness actions. We’re gonna do extra messy play meals actions. So we’re gonna let our children get messy after they’re studying to eat as infants. We’re gonna allow them to get messy and simply share with them that it’s okay to get messy and we are able to wash our arms. Nevertheless it provokes a lot anxiousness for these kiddos, particularly on the first like cake smash. You recognize, that’s like a giant monument when you’ve a cake smash after which you’ve kiddos who gained’t get their arms messy. They refuse to the touch the cake.

And that, to me, is a giant signal that there’s one thing else occurring. However so far as diets and meals, we’re gonna give all kinds of flavors, salty, candy, spicy, bitter, totally different, like, textures like I discussed, heat meals, chilly meals. These chilly meals undoubtedly wake the mouth up a little bit bit extra. Not essentially ice cream however, like, smoothies and slushies and, like, crushed ice and issues they’ll get extra enter from. These heat meals are gonna be a little bit bit higher for, like, interoceptive enter and, like, the place their physique is in area and, type of, grounding them a little bit bit extra. So it’s variety of a complete combination of issues. It’s not essentially the meals that they’re consuming, but it surely’s the kind of meals and all of the sensory properties of the meals.

Katie: Obtained it. So avoiding the, type of, most inflammatory meals, which can be my advice throughout the board is, like, let’s get the most effective probability at no irritation.

Rachel: Completely.

Katie: Yeah, the feel element is new. I don’t suppose that’s a factor… I undoubtedly haven’t considered, as a dad or mum, of like, “Oh, I ought to give a wide range of textures of meals. So fascinating. So, I do know we’re speaking about this principally in a capability of kids, I’m curious, does this variation over time, particularly with intervention? In different phrases, can youngsters develop out of it or a minimum of study to handle it nicely? And a few follow-up to that, however can youngsters develop out of it?

Rachel: Yeah. So the purpose is to show the kid… I at all times say that the purpose is to show the kid to develop into it as finest they’ll. We wanna train them to acknowledge their surroundings, we wanna train them that there are modifications that may be made, we wanna train them how one can correctly modulate their very own sensory system. And so they’re not essentially gonna develop out of it, however we’re gonna assist them develop into it. And we’re gonna train them the issues that they should do in an effort to get by means of their life as straightforward and as satisfying as attainable. That’s type of the great thing about occupational remedy is, you understand, residing your finest life. And so, with sensory processing challenges, we’re not gonna develop out of it however we’re going to do our greatest to assist everybody study to develop into it as finest they’ll.

Katie: What about for adults? Since you talked about once you work with households or QVC households after which the adults notice they’ve a few of these issues as nicely, that they in all probability by no means addressed? So what occurs when an grownup begins realizing that they’ve acquired perhaps some sensory issues?

Rachel: Oh, that’s my favourite half. As a result of for me, I’ve realized a lot about my sensory system and what number of challenges I’ve. And sure, it might make issues a little bit bit tougher however I do know what’s a set off for me, I do know that I’m gonna get actually mad if the TV is on, if the child is crying, if somebody’s attempting to have a dialog with me. So I understand how to course of that enter. And I do know what to do in an effort to efficiently get by means of that with out, like, “having a meltdown.” Proper? In order that’s the purpose is that if we are able to notice we’ve these triggers, we’ve these sensory challenges, we are able to have the ability to keep away from meltdowns. We are able to keep away from anger, aggression, emotional outbursts, by understanding what our triggers are and what’s exhausting for us.

I don’t suggest avoiding these sensory challenges altogether. I at all times say if we are able to, you understand, follow them extra and have extra publicity and extra expertise, then it should get simpler. It’s not the case for everyone. But when we fully keep away from this enter that’s exhausting for us, we’re by no means going to get higher at processing it. So for adults, I say, study as a lot as you’ll be able to. There are many sensory checklists on the market that you are able to do and you’ll, type of, get an concept of the place you’re over-responsive, the place you’re under-responsive. After which you can begin implementing totally different methods to make a distinction.

So, for me, auditory is a giant one which I wrestle with. And it’s undoubtedly gotten worse after being pregnant, which is loopy. However I do that program referred to as the listening program, it’s by Superior Mind Applied sciences. And it really works from the within out. And I believe that’s actually necessary, in addition to vitamin. It really works from the within out and it helps your mind have extra of a optimistic adaptive response to the sensory enter, in addition to emotional communication and all of these underlying abilities.

Katie: That makes full sense. And once you talked about the auditory factor, I believe I’d in all probability have misophonia and be identified with chewing and sure sounds. And that undoubtedly acquired worse after being pregnant, as did some issues. Like I don’t like being the wrong way up.

Rachel: Sure. So right here’s the bizarre factor. Let me simply let you know what’s bizarre about that. So, I additionally had a variety of vestibular challenges. So I struggled with movement illness rather a lot as an grownup, as a toddler. After I acquired pregnant, after I had my kiddo, I can experience within the backseat of the automotive, I can go on the curvy roads and I don’t get carsick. And I believe after your physique goes by means of that wild change, your sensory system modifications as nicely. And such as you mentioned, you wrestle with going the wrong way up and motion, however I’m positive there are different issues that you simply’ve observed as nicely, perhaps with the misophonia, if it’s gotten worse or if it’s gotten any higher, if you happen to’ve simply been capable of acknowledge it extra. Nevertheless it undoubtedly modifications after your physique goes by means of all of that trauma.

Katie: That’s fascinating. And from what I’ve heard from previous podcast company, it looks as if there’s very very like a vestibular connection. And I believe you touched on this a little bit bit. Are you able to assist me perceive what’s occurring with the vestibular system when there are challenges, after which perhaps how a few of these issues are serving to change that?

Rachel: Sure, so the vestibular system helps us acknowledge the place our physique is in area. So if we get a head place change, if we’re spinning, if we’re bending right down to put our sneakers on, if we’re wanting up over our head, that’s gonna set off our vestibular system to say, “Oh, okay, that is the place I’m. I have to proper myself and have the ability to stability and rise up straight so I don’t fall over. And if we’ve challenges with that, a variety of instances we’ll see, for somebody who’s over-responsive or they’re could also be having an overreaction or they’re extra delicate to vestibular enter, we’re gonna see extra challenges with motion, carsickness, movement illness all on the whole, stability challenges.

Our visible system, our auditory system is linked due to these vestibular receptors which can be in our interior ears. We’re gonna see challenges with visual-vestibular integration, which is with the ability to monitor your eyes and monitor perhaps a ball coming in the direction of you. Otherwise you’re sitting in a automotive and also you’re watching the automobiles go by, as you’re about to make a flip, understanding how lengthy you must make that flip earlier than the automotive comes. In order that’s extra of, like, a practical method. However for kiddos, oftentimes, we’ll see kiddos who’re looking for that vestibular enter they usually need extra enter in an effort to really feel regular. In order that they’re going to do somersaults, they’re going to spin, they’re going to run and bounce. And people are the kiddos who oftentimes are labeled because the dangerous youngsters at school, sadly.

I’m attempting to vary that. However these are the children who’re on the go they usually want that further enter in an effort to simply sit such as you and I at the moment are. We’re capable of sit and focus and have a dialog. And people youngsters can’t do this with out that added enter. After which we’ve the kiddos on the opposite facet who’re avoiding vestibular enter they usually’re uncomfortable when their toes transfer the bottom. And, you understand, in the event that they’re swinging on a swing, they’re gonna freak out when their mother or dad pushes them too excessive. And we’ve to have the ability to acknowledge that and never push them, and that’s gonna trigger much more challenges. Nevertheless it’s all kinds. And that vestibular system causes so many challenges in a variety of alternative ways.

Katie: And once you’re speaking about these items that, you understand, youngsters liking to somersault and run and climb, like, to me, as a mother, I’m like these ought to be the, you understand, pure actions that youngsters need to do. And so, I’m curious, is there an optimum side of this? Like, is there an opportunity that in fashionable society, youngsters are additionally not getting sufficient of these inputs that they only naturally ought to be getting? And so it’s not a lot that that is, like, a diagnosable downside a lot as a societal downside, like we’re not letting our children have entry to a large sufficient vary of vestibular inputs at a younger age?

Rachel: Sure, you hit the nail on the top. Sure, completely. So such as you mentioned, from the start, it begins with infants who’re in swings, you understand, that very same linear movement. They’re in swings, they must be rocked to sleep, they want that motion to sleep. You recognize, we didn’t have that. Once I was child, once you have been a child, these issues have been only a few and much between. So we needed to get enter by rolling on the ground and being held and carried and we had packs. After which as youngsters develop up, they’re outdoors climbing bushes, they’re operating, they’re on merry-go-rounds, they’re swinging, they’re climbing, they’re leaping, they’re enjoying with their buddies outdoors.

And these days, there’s so many extra screens. I don’t hate, simply screens they trigger a variety of these challenges for these kiddos. They’re sedentary, they usually’re not outdoors climbing. And oldsters even nowadays are extra hesitant to let their youngster climb a tree, or, you understand, go to the park by themselves and get loopy and get wild and experiment with their physique. However a lot of the sensory processing, the pure sensory enter is gonna assist their physique study to have these acceptable adaptive responses. And so if these kiddos aren’t having these…you understand, they’re not climbing up the slide and hanging off the monkey bars the wrong way up, you understand… Mother and father nowadays we’re like, “Oh, no, watch out. Don’t get damage.”

However that’s so necessary for these kiddos to study and to fall down and to get again up and notice, “Nicely, shoot that actually damage. I’m in all probability gonna must do one thing totally different or I’m gonna must follow extra so I can get stronger and have the ability to do this.” So it’s undoubtedly modified. It’s undoubtedly environmental and a societal problem nowadays. So to kiddos, get outdoors and allow them to fall down and get damage. And I at all times say get them out of containers as usually as you’ll be able to, as infants. Allow them to transfer, and play, and roll on the bottom. And ideally, we’ll see lots much less of the sensory processing challenges as they develop up. However there’s nobody resolution for this, sadly.

Katie: That is sensible. Nevertheless it additionally does make a variety of sense that…as a result of these are issues that traditionally have occurred. Like all through historical past, youngsters have been let loose to play much more than they’re now. And I’ve talked about that, the place we’re seeing actually dramatic modifications and the way a lot, such as you mentioned, youngsters are on screens, how a lot they’re inside. There’s a lot extra that occurs in these vestibular inputs. I’m an enormous fan of my youngsters, as an illustration, being barefoot outdoors as a lot as attainable, like that’s an enormous precedence in our home. And so I’m, like, very anti sneakers, particularly in our home, in our neighborhood, yard, simply because they’re getting all that enter from the bottom, from interacting with the bottom. And I don’t suppose dad and mom at all times notice, like, there’s a really direct connection to the mind.

Rachel. Sure. Sure. And I imply when kiddos are barefoot, when adults are barefoot, you’re getting a ton of proprioceptive enter, so that you’re studying the place your physique is. Proprioceptive enter is just like the very grounding, grounding enter, in addition to tactile enter. So I at all times say, very first thing within the morning, if you happen to can get up and go outdoors and stroll round barefoot in moist grass, it’s like consuming a cup of espresso. Like, it’s gonna wake your system up, you’re gonna be able to rock and roll. And 9 instances out of 10 our kiddos nowadays are gonna be like, “Oh my gosh, what is that this? I can’t deal with it. That is so uncomfortable.” However the extra we do it, the better it should get and the higher it should get as nicely.

Katie: And another solutions for simply establishing…? I’m additionally massive surroundings, like, don’t change the kid, change the surroundings. If we’re establishing surroundings that simply places issues of their technique to give them possibilities for this. Like, some examples in our home, we’ve a gymnastics mat down our hallway to allow them to do flips down the corridor. We have now yoga swings in all their rooms and gymnastics rings in order that they’ll stability on, like these little surf trainers, issues like that. However are there any solutions for, like, whether or not or not it’s outside surroundings, indoor surroundings, simply methods we are able to put issues in our children’ means to assist with this?

Rachel: Oh my gosh, I may cry listening to that you’ve got all these issues in your home. That’s superb. Oh, if everybody may have these issues, it will be improbable however I notice that isn’t a purpose in everybody’s family and it’s not out there. I’m a giant proponent of impediment programs. So utilizing sofa cushions, utilizing chairs with pillows and blankets, and establishing impediment programs the place you’ve a perform. So that you’re gonna put a puzzle on one facet of the impediment course, your youngster has to do a cartwheel or a somersault over the sofa cushions on the ground, they must crawl by means of the tunnel, they must do 10 leaping jacks, seize one piece of the puzzle, after which return by means of the impediment course. These are improbable.

Animal walks are nice. I at all times recommend doing animal walks to transition to mealtime or to bedtime. Utilizing visuals are actually useful for these kiddos as nicely. I do know it’s not essentially an environmental change however in case you have schedules and visuals as much as let these kiddos notice what’s subsequent, what’s anticipated of them, that’s actually useful. However actually, simply getting outdoors, getting that pure enter, I’d say put your sensory goggles on, you’ve eight totally different sensory methods. So if we are able to acknowledge, you understand, when a kiddo is outdoors they usually’re enjoying with rocks, you understand, what enter are they getting? Are they feeling the rocks? Are they holding them of their arms? They’re very heavy. Simply going outdoors, getting that pure enter. Even indoors, arrange your impediment programs. Simply embrace all kinds of sensory enter all through the day. Consider motion, consider sound, consider style. Consider contact, textures, and issues to the touch. Simply rising the sensory enter {that a} youngster is getting all through their day is a giant environmental change we are able to do.

Katie: Is there a sleep element with this as nicely? Like, can we see sleep challenges in individuals with sensory processing struggles and/or, like, are there issues we are able to do throughout sleep to assist optimize for the day forward? As a result of I do know like a lot occurs in particularly deep sleep with cerebrospinal fluid and mind well being. However how does sleep play into this?

Rachel: So it’s nearly the, what got here first, the hen or the egg? Is the kiddos fighting sleep as a result of they’ve sensory processing challenges or are the sensory processing challenges making sleep troublesome? So, very first thing that involves thoughts, a toddler’s laying in mattress, whether or not they have garments on, whether or not they’re of their underwear, nevertheless they’re sleeping, they’ve the sheets they usually have the blankets that they must course of. You recognize, sometimes, we are able to’t… We’re carrying garments and our physique, and our mind, they don’t notice that we’re carrying garments. However for a kiddo who has sensory processing challenges, they’re going to acknowledge the sheets on them. They’re going to acknowledge… Each time they flip, perhaps it’ll wake them up as a result of it’s going to elicit that vestibular enter they usually’re gonna flip and get that movement, and it’s gonna wake them up out of their sleep.

So, is it what got here first? Are they having a tough time sleeping due to that sensory problem or the opposite means round? It’s exhausting to say. However I’d say as a lot deep strain and proprioceptive enter you’ll be able to have earlier than mattress, in mattress, goes to be actually regulating for the nervous system. So issues like compression sheets, weighted blankets, will be actually useful, doing animal walks, bear walks, steamroller, massages earlier than mattress, heat bubble baths, prepping that surroundings like we talked about earlier than. That’s gonna be actually useful for these kiddos, simply to organize their nervous system to sleep.

And for kiddos who wrestle with sounds, perhaps placing a noise machine within the background. There’s a variety of totally different modifications which you could make. Classical music, the listening program is a superb one to include as nicely to assist sleep and to assist prep for sleep, and to make sleep a little bit bit simpler. But when a kiddo is struggling to sleep at evening they usually’re not getting good high quality of sleep, then I really feel like we’re gonna have extra intense sensory challenges all through the day. So, determining sleep is a giant a part of having a extra well-rounded youngster, for positive.

Katie: And I’d love to know extra with the weighted blankets. As a result of this have undoubtedly gotten actually common recently, and my youngsters have a few them they usually actually take pleasure in it. And it does appear to enhance how lengthy they’re sleeping. I don’t suppose they’ve actually, like, particular sensory issues that I’d level towards, but it surely does appear to enhance their sleep. And I suppose in my head, I’ve at all times considered it type of, like… My third youngster was a preemie and he was within the NICU. And once we have been lastly capable of go to him, they informed us like, “Don’t gently contact him.” Like, your intuition as a dad or mum is gonna be to softly contact him, but it surely’s an excessive amount of for his nervous system. So that you wanna like simply put a hand on him and never transfer it, however simply let him really feel that you simply’re there, really feel the load of your hand, however don’t overstimulate him. And so I’m guessing, is that type of the identical concept we’re speaking about with weighted blankets? It’s like that calm strain on the nervous system?

Rachel: Sure, completely. Sure. So these weighted blankets do present that deep proprioceptive enter. And the sunshine contact, just like the docs have been saying, could be very noxious. So it’s very exhausting for individuals to course of that gentle contact. That’s why a variety of youngsters wrestle with, like, simply utilizing one sheet at evening within the summertime they usually don’t have the heavy consolation round their mattress. So, these weighted blankets are improbable, not just for kiddos and individuals who wrestle with sensory processing challenges however for individuals who, you understand, perhaps simply want a little bit further enter all through the day.

And the cool factor about weighted blankets is there’s a variety of totally different ways in which you should utilize them. You’ll be able to lay them over the physique, identical to you’d an everyday blanket or you’ll be able to roll them up and put them subsequent to your self or your youngster for, like, that enter that they’ll push in opposition to they usually can really feel as nicely. That grounding proprioceptive enter, it’s probably the most organizing enter which you could get. And so, it’s at all times a go-to. However some kiddos wrestle to course of that deep, deep strain in the event that they’re rolling they usually’re transferring out from beneath it each evening. In order that’s why I say a compression sheet is a superb various as a result of it’s like a lycra compression sheet that goes over the mattress they usually can push in opposition to it. It’s fixed deep strain. They’ll crawl beneath it. They’ll crawl out of it on their very own. So it’s an amazing various for kiddos who perhaps can’t tolerate that deep strain, however they’ll simply get that very same proprioceptive enter in only a totally different format.

Katie: You’ve used that phrase proprioceptive now just a few instances and I believe, like, you’ve undoubtedly hinted that type of the reason of what it means. However only for anyone who’s not aware of that time period, are you able to give us, like, a tough definition of what proprioceptive means and what could be, type of, the vary of issues that would supply that type of suggestions?

Rachel: Sure, it’s my all-time favourite sense. It’s grounding. We have now receptors in our joints and muscle groups and tendons. And it type of helps to inform us the place our physique is in area. So sometimes, individuals aren’t over-responsive to proprioceptive enter. Individuals are usually under-responsive, in order that they want extra enter. They aren’t having these over-reactions to that deep strain enter. And it helps our physique acknowledge the place it’s in area. And so, all of that deep strain, joint compressions, therapeutic massage, weighted objects, these are going to assist our physique acknowledge the place we’re in area. And so, usually these kiddos with sensory processing challenges, they may really feel like they’re floating out of their chair, they fall out of their chairs in school. So once we give them extra enter, like a weighted vest, or a lap pad, one thing like that, it’s gonna assist them acknowledge, “Oh, that is the place I’m. That is how I really feel. That is the place my physique is. And let me now stick with it and I can concentrate on a unique activity.” In order that’s type of proprioceptive enter in a nutshell.

Katie: Are there issues we are able to do, even when we don’t suppose our children perhaps have a selected problem associated to this, that simply assist…or after they’re very, very younger, to foster wholesome sensory growth and hopefully keep away from a few of these points?

Rachel: Sure, there’s so many alternative issues. Truthfully, pure motion goes to be the most important factor for these kiddos from the beginning. So getting them on the ground, tummy time, rolling, laying on their again, laying on their facet. They’re gonna work on integrating their primitive reflexes from the beginning, on the bottom, free play, not in a container, not in, like, a bouncer or a jumper and issues like that. However that free motion is one of the simplest ways to work on that sensory enter, in addition to, like I mentioned, offering all kinds of sensory enter daily.

If we defend our infants from the blender or the vacuum, then as they develop up, they’re gonna say, “Oh my gosh, what’s that noise? I don’t prefer it as a result of I’m not used to it.” But when we are able to prep them and say, “Hey, I’m gonna…” It sounds bizarre speaking to your child, however they perceive greater than we give them credit score for. But when we confirmed them, “Hey, I’m gonna flip the vacuum on,” they could startle, they could have a little bit little bit of an overreaction. We flip it off. We speak them by means of it. Flip it on once more. So, if we prep these kiddos for this novel sensory enter, if we are able to get them by means of this enter as infants and younger youngsters, the probability of them having a problem processing it afterward, it goes down a little bit bit. Nevertheless it’s a neurological situation so we are able to’t keep away from every little thing simply by implementing extra as a child. However we are able to undoubtedly assist them modulate the enter a little bit bit higher, the extra that we’re offering them.

Katie: Gotcha. And that goes again to a number of the issues we talked about too about establishing their surroundings in order that it’s only a pure a part of their day. And I’d guess, additionally, like, even with early feeding, just like the textures of meals, and letting them… I don’t know if this immediately applies to sensory points however I’m a giant fan of after they’re younger, letting them study to feed themselves, even when it’s not environment friendly at first, like, placing issues on their tray and letting them, type of, wrestle and never have the ability to do it at first as a result of they’re getting that connection by studying.

Rachel: Sure, completely. I refuse to feed my youngster from a spoon. I’ll pre-load the spoon. I’ll put the meals on the spoon and let him carry it to his mouth. If he misses, that’s advantageous. He’s gonna study the subsequent time, “Oh, that’s not the place my mouth is, that’s my cheek. And so I’m gonna hit the goal subsequent time.” In addition to finger meals. And so long as they’re getting messy they usually’re getting their arms messy, they’re exploring that texture. I at all times love to do vibration for little ones too as a result of that vibration is a variety of faucet expertise proprioceptive enter, which is so useful for these kiddos to study the place their mouth is, the place their tongue is, their cheeks are till we are able to get that enter.

From a younger age, that’s gonna be useful. I additionally like to simply get contained in the child’s mouth. So, my toddler, you understand, he was a month previous, and I begin placing my finger in his mouth and touching his gums and his cheeks and his tongue so he can acknowledge, “Oh, I’ve, you understand, different issues in my mouth that I’ve to maneuver and really feel.” And that’s actually useful for infants to prep them for feeding solids, prep them for simply with the ability to tolerate various things of their mouth, totally different textures, totally different meals. So, undoubtedly a proponent of self-feeding and studying by means of making errors and getting messy.

Katie: I like the thought of letting them get messy, letting them get soiled. I’m a giant, massive proponent of all people having a backyard in no matter means attainable, even when it’s a container backyard on the balcony, however letting youngsters get within the filth. Like from the dietary facet, there’s so many cool issues that occur once we work together with clearly a clear supply of filth. However from the bacterial facet and the microbiome facet to the way in which our our bodies creating iron..and there’s so many, like, dietary and sophisticated pathways there, but it surely seems like there’s additionally a really actual, like, vestibular and sensory integration that’s taking place once we work together with our surroundings in methods like getting soiled. And that’s the factor that they’re studying to course of early, hopefully, proper?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I like that. And it’s, it’s so necessary for these kiddos to play in filth. And there’s undoubtedly a variety of analysis behind therapeutic gardening for older kiddos as nicely and adults. And I don’t sometimes give it some thought from a microbiome standpoint, however that’s large. And that may make a giant distinction, particularly in that gut-brain well being for these kiddos who in all probability have already got a tough time processing that because it begins. So, that’s improbable. I like that.

Katie: Yeah, it’s increasingly more… Like, simply we’ve realized a lot about well being and I really feel like there’s all these actually cool, like, leading edge therapies they usually can really feel so thrilling and classy. But in addition, it may be very costly and complex. And I at all times simply return to the concept that it’s so usually subtractive not additive and that a lot of these items, it’s going again to how we was. And I do know they discuss that in weight loss plan, of getting again to a cleaner weight loss plan, however actually additionally how youngsters used to play, how adults used to play. And I like the subject of play, it’s truly been a recurring matter on this podcast not too long ago. And also you’ve made a powerful case for the sensory and vestibular causes behind unstructured play and even, like, getting the wrong way up, climbing issues. I’m curious, can these items nonetheless be efficient as efficient for older youngsters and or adults? Like, I’m pondering for myself, like, can I practice my vestibular system to, like, being the wrong way up once more?

Rachel: Sure, completely. I believe the extra we are able to do it, the higher. And it is going to be exhausting at first. However there are a few totally different methods, particularly with the vestibular system. So if a kiddo, perhaps they’re 10 they usually’re engaged on this, they usually’re going the wrong way up, they’re hanging the wrong way up from the monkey bars, they usually’re getting actually dizzy or nauseous or offended… That at all times occurs to me after I spin I get offended afterwards. But when we are able to observe that enter with proprioceptive enter, then it’s going to assist calm and floor the nervous system. So a easy means is to simply suck the tongue to the roof of the mouth.

You recognize, if you happen to’re driving within the automotive and also you’re getting movement illness if you happen to can simply suck that tongue to the roof of your mouth, push it, give your physique some enter. There, you’ve acquired some actually highly effective nerves up there which can be gonna get stimulated and that’s gonna assist, type of, override that over-reaction to the vestibular enter. So, a giant a part of implementing these totally different actions is understanding how one can, type of, floor your nervous system afterwards so that you don’t wrestle with, you understand, processing this enter for the remainder of the day.

I type of consider it as a sandwich too. So if we begin with proprioceptive enter, we do this difficult vestibular tactile auditory exercise after which we observe with some extra proprioceptive enter, then we’re gonna have a significantly better job of processing that enter happening the street, and our physique goes to acknowledge, “Oh, okay, I’m protected. I’m not in that battle or flight response. I’m calm. Now I can stick with it with my day.”

Katie: Okay, so that you simply talked about battle or flight. I’m guessing then there’s additionally a sympathetic, parasympathetic side to the sensory challenges. So if somebody’s not getting sufficient enter or an excessive amount of enter, is that conserving them in a sympathetic nervous system state at instances or may it? And so, that is additionally like these proprioceptive inputs are serving to the physique regulate down again into parasympathetic?

Rachel: Sure. So these kiddos, they are often in that battle or flight state, and that type of work comes together with the primitive reflex integration as nicely. So if these individuals have…individuals, youngsters, adults, if we’ve these retained primitive reflexes, we will be in that battle or flight state. We are able to, as well as, to have these sensory processing challenges… It’s all linked. And I believe if we are able to acknowledge and empathize with these kiddos who’re having these massive reactions to what we’d see as, you understand, not a giant deal, if we are able to acknowledge, “Hey, they may be in that battle or flight state proper now, let’s present some extra enter to get them grounded to allow them to get out of that battle or flight state,” which it’s not gonna occur in a single day. It’s gonna take some time for them to study to have these adaptive responses to get out of that battle or flight state.

However the final purpose is to get them out and to get them processing it. So if we are able to work on reflex integration, I do know we didn’t contact on it a ton, but it surely’s a giant a part of sensory processing challenges. If we are able to get these reflexes to go away to allow them to have these larger mind degree capabilities, their mind to be a little bit bit extra mature, then they’re going to have the ability to get out of that battle or flight they usually’re gonna have the ability to have a extra adaptive response to totally different enter.

Katie: Let’s go a little bit deeper on that than the reflex integration. What does that appear like at totally different developmental phases and/and even for older youngsters and adults perhaps?

Rachel: Sure. So when you’ve a primitive reflex, you’ve a reflex that you simply’re born with, they begin in utero they usually’re imagined to go away. And so they don’t go away for no matter motive. There’s a variety of totally different the explanation why. It could possibly be delivery trauma, it could possibly be the way in which that you simply’re born, it could possibly be toxins, it could possibly be genetics. It could possibly be only a ton of various components. However if you happen to maintain on to these reflexes, your mind isn’t going to mature because it usually and because it ought to from a organic standpoint, proper? In case you’re not capable of undergo these developmental milestones, these patterns, you understand, you begin in your again, your tummy and also you’re rolling, and also you’re crawling, and also you’re strolling.

In case you’re not going by means of these patterns, then seemingly your primitive reflexes aren’t going to get built-in in that standard means. And so, as we’ve these retained reflexes, it’s going to trigger a variety of totally different studying motor challenges as nicely. So, I at all times say you will get misdiagnosed with issues like anxiousness since you’re going to be in that battle or flight state in case you have a routine motor reflex, that startle reflex, proper? You’re going to perhaps have some studying difficulties. When individuals have a retained ATNR, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex, you’re gonna wrestle with studying and writing, and with the ability to determine your left versus your proper.

For a Spinal Galant Reflex, we oftentimes see bedwetting past the traditional age. And that reflex is loopy as a result of it’s the one which, type of, helps to corkscrew the child out of the vaginal delivery when they’re giving delivery. C-section infants typically, that reflex doesn’t get built-in as a result of they aren’t capable of naturally undergo that motion. And if we stroke the facet of the toddler’s physique, it’s going to elicit urination. So, if we’re tossing and delivering mattress as an older kiddo and we’re getting that stimuli on our physique, then we’re going to moist the mattress. However I imply, we wouldn’t suppose to rule out reflexes for these older kiddos. You suppose that they’re, you understand, simply not capable of do it and there’s a unique motive why however I’d say discover that why.

So these reflexes trigger a variety of underlying challenges that perhaps we wouldn’t essentially take a look at but it surely’s undoubtedly ranging from the roots after which constructing on these roots, getting these reflexes to go away, so these larger mind capabilities can take over and, type of, create these higher pathways within the mind, these extra mature responses.

Katie: I like that. And I like your tip about simply pushing your tongue on the roof of your mouth. I really feel like that’s a easy one I’ve heard from… I’ve a daughter who used to have movement illness. I’ve had movement illness up to now, that’s such a easy one. And good to have in your pocket. Are there another little fast, like, proprioceptive resets like that or issues that oldsters can strive, particularly if youngsters are, type of, within the midst of perhaps one thing that could possibly be, like, sensory associated wrestle the place all these feelings are flaring…little ideas like that, that may assist?

Rachel: A pair little ideas, I do love important oil. So, smelling important oils, like peppermint, is de facto grounding. Chewing gum is a giant one as nicely as a result of that gives a variety of proprioceptive enter to the gums, the jaw, in addition to issues like chair push-ups. So if you happen to’re within the automotive, if you happen to’re in school, simply pushing your physique up in your chair, as a chair push up, pushing your arms collectively within the center, pushing in opposition to one other individual, attempting to have a little bit competitors, pushing your arms in opposition to an individual is a superb one. I do love simply deep respiration, simply smelling the roses and blowing out the candles. It’s so easy, but it surely undoubtedly is a improbable reset button.

Katie: I adore it.

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So for anyone listening who perhaps is… I do know, there’s a variety of consciousness about this. I hear from a variety of dad and mom who already acknowledge sensory challenges of their youngsters. And I believe we’ve given some good beginning factors for individuals to, type of, go deeper from there. If somebody’s listening and perhaps realizing for the primary time that they’re recognizing a few of these issues of their youngsters or perhaps even in themselves, is there pathway you’ll be able to suggest for them to start out to determine, what are gonna be the inputs and outputs within the strategy of that? Are there good assets out there for this?

Rachel: Sure, numerous good assets. One among our favorites is the SPD STAR Institute. In order that’s an amazing web site. They do remedy. They provide a variety of consults. That’s an amazing useful resource. We even have a podcast the place we discuss all issues sensory. It’s “All Issues Sensory” by Harkla, go determine. And so we’ve acquired that podcast which we simply share tangible ideas and methods. And so we break it down so it’s straightforward to know. That’s the most important factor for us, is to make it straightforward to know for individuals. Harkla can be an amazing useful resource as nicely. They’ve acquired tons and tons of weblog posts and we’ve digital programs there as nicely. In case you wanna dive deep into primitive reflexes, sensory diets, that’s an amazing useful resource. And even simply looking out Google Scholar. I actually say, like, as a substitute of simply looking out Google for info, you simply go one step additional and simply seek for some analysis articles, you’re gonna discover a variety of good info there as nicely.

Katie: Superior. I’m making notes so as to add. Additionally like we acquired a tangible instance, from the analysis earlier than this podcast, I’ve learn that you simply hated pickles earlier than attempting a few of these therapies on your self and also you now love them. In order that…

Rachel: I do know.

Katie: Is that true?

Rachel: That’s 100% true. And I chortle… I take advantage of it for example after I’m working with kiddos who wrestle with attempting new meals. As a result of we at all times say, if you happen to strive the meals 20 instances, you’re gonna have a greater concept if you happen to truly prefer it or if you happen to don’t prefer it. And, you understand, if it’s not significant so that you can strive new meals and to extend your meals repertoire, then it’s not going to work. However my husband would at all times give me such a tough time, he’d say, “I want you’d identical to pickles so we didn’t must put pickles on the facet and pull them off.” It’s like okay, I’m gonna strive them 20 instances, alternative ways. I like them. Now I truly will purchase them by myself. They’ve acquired nice ones at Costco which can be improbable. However I believe it’s actually useful for folks to have this info of, you understand, recognizing not solely in themselves, they’ll do that with their kiddos. Perhaps they’ve a choosy eater, however they are going to go at it collectively and say, “Let’s do this meals 20 instances. We’ll preserve monitor after which we are able to determine if we truly prefer it or if we don’t.” And both means is okay. You’ve that chance to say, “Sure, I prefer it” or “No, I don’t” however let’s strive it collectively and, type of, make it a enjoyable expertise.

Katie: That’s so nice. As a result of I undoubtedly hear from dad and mom…the choosy consuming factor is type of a giant matter amongst dad and mom. However I hear that from adults as nicely. So yeah, I believe that’s an amazing non-pressuring perspective and a straightforward technique to get youngsters to hopefully combine. And with my youngsters, I’m but to see a meals that they’ll’t, over time, study to love, particularly with that type of light method. So…

Rachel: It makes a giant distinction. Yeah, conserving it optimistic, but in addition not having the optimistic strain. You recognize, “Yay, you ate it. Good job. How was it?” You recognize, that’s strain as nicely. So, letting them exit at themselves and work together with the meals, and contact the meals, and lick the meals, and take a look at it, and simply partaking with the meals and getting used to seeing it and feeling it and touching it… I at all times say youngsters aren’t going to have the ability to course of the meals of their mouth if they’ll’t course of it on their arms and on their pores and skin, as a result of we’ve these tactile receptors in our mouth. To allow them to’t even contact the meals, then they’re not gonna have the ability to eat it. There’s no means. So it begins there. It begins the very fundamentals of simply enjoying along with your meals and getting messy.

Katie: Yeah, undoubtedly. I like that a lot. And I like that you simply talked about, you understand, don’t reward them for attempting the meals. And I ponder if there’s a mindset, from the dad or mum facet, a mindset element to navigating sensory points as nicely. As a result of I’ve talked lots about simply, on the whole, parenting mindsets with youngsters and never praising innate abilities or issues that they’re not capable of change, however praising effort or praising the factor that they’ve management over. I’m guessing that might even be truly much more necessary once you’re speaking a couple of youngster who’s already struggling by means of inputs and outputs and has extra issues to navigate. However are there mindset elements of this which can be useful for folks to simply perceive and preserve high of thoughts after they’re interacting with a toddler who has sensory points?

Rache: I at all times suppose that we have to empathize, initially, empathize with these kiddos, in the event that they don’t wanna go down the slide, after which they ultimately go down the slide. As an alternative of creating it an enormous deal that they went down the slide, if we are able to discuss, you understand, how they felt about it and, you understand, what they did to really feel courageous sufficient to go down the slide, though perhaps they have been scared the primary time. And never forcing them to do these nonpreferred actions that, you understand, to an outsider, it’s a nonpreferred exercise however to a kiddo with sensory processing challenges, it’s a giant deal for them to undergo these motions and take a look at these new meals.

So if we are able to… You recognize, that is type of on the other facet of the spectrum, whereas… Once we have been rising up as youngsters, we have been pressured to complete the meals on our plate, we have been pressured to eat every little thing, use our manners. And a variety of us now as adults, we’ve, type of, unfavorable associations with meals, and we’ve these bits of trauma from feeding and consuming and all these experiences. And I believe that type of shift to parenting now of not forcing a toddler to complete their plate, you understand, not forcing them to strive these new meals, simply to supply it. And if they fight it, nice, in the event that they don’t, don’t make a giant deal about it. Each methods, don’t make a giant deal about it. Simply allow them to be and allow them to pressure…like, create their very own opinions in regards to the meals and in regards to the expertise. It’s not simply meals, however creating their very own ideas. So as a substitute of claiming, “Yum, it’s so good,” you say, “What do you consider that meals? How does it style? How does it really feel?” And speak in regards to the sensory elements.

Katie: Oh, and I believe that there’s crossover from that into so many elements of parenting. I believe after they’re having an emotional response to something, as a substitute of attempting to mission on them what that emotion is, you understand, ask them how they’re feeling and attempt to not give judgment towards that emotion. Which additionally, I really feel like crosses over to grownup internally is, like, once we really feel sturdy feelings, we don’t have to guage that. We don’t must really feel like disappointment equals dangerous. I’m going to really feel dangerous now. We are able to truly simply expertise the emotion and let it go.

And, like, giving that very same useful resource to our kids from a younger age, not attempting to provide them a unfavorable affiliation or perhaps a optimistic affiliation, immediately with these issues and letting them navigate it themselves to, type of, develop that emotional response.

Nicely, you’ve talked about so many nice assets. I’ve been taking notes, and people will all be within the present notes at wellnessmama.fm for anyone listening, who desires to go deep on any of these subjects. One other query I like to ask towards the top of interviews is that if there’s a ebook or quite a lot of books which have had a profound affect in your life, and in that case what they’re and why.

Rachel: Sure, okay, I’ve three that got here to thoughts. Sounds type of bizarre however popping out of faculty, the primary sensory books that I learn, have been The Out-of-Sync Baby and Elevating a Sensory Sensible Baby. And so they completely modified my outlook on the sensory system and simply treating these kiddos and adults with sensory processing challenges, in addition to Reflexes, Studying and Habits by Sally Goddard. That’s one other improbable ebook to, type of, dive deeper into primitive reflex integration and, type of, perceive the kid from the within out. So these three books, it’s type of nerdy, however I like them a lot. And so they’re at all times the books that I like to recommend to households who’re new at navigating the sensory world and the reflex world.

Katie: No judgment on nerdy for me. I’ve been studying physics books recently for enjoyable. However I like these, these are all new suggestions. I’ll put these hyperlinks within the present notes as nicely, so that you guys can discover these and preserve studying. And I’m so glad I lastly acquired to speak about this matter. And it was an amazing dialog with you. Hopefully, gave some very sensible assets to folks. Hopefully, we inspired numerous dad and mom to let their youngsters play outdoors barefoot and get messy with their meals and dangle the wrong way up. And I’m excited to see the ripples of all that in all of those households. Thanks a lot for all of the work that you simply do, and with all these youngsters and these households, and on your great coronary heart. And thanks for being right here as we speak.

Rachel: Sure, in fact. Thanks a lot for having me.

Katie: And thanks, as at all times, to you guys for listening and sharing your most beneficial assets, your time, and your power with us as we speak. We’re each so grateful that you simply did, and I hope that you simply’ll be part of me once more on the subsequent episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

In case you’re having fun with these interviews, would you please take two minutes to go away a score or evaluation on iTunes for me? Doing this helps extra individuals to seek out the podcast, which suggests much more mothers and households may benefit from the data. I actually respect your time, and thanks as at all times for listening.

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